- The name of 2015 national honouree, Dr. Badih Shoucair, readily resonates with residents of Barbican, and neighbouring communities, in St. Andrew.
- During his 65 years of practice, the 96-year old medical doctor has systematically devoted time for the less fortunate, with his philanthropic work being legendary in areas such as Chambers Lane, Barbican Circle, and Lower Russell Heights.
- Dr. Shoucair’s limitless benevolence and generosity often saw him providing health care, free of cost, to the needy, as well as offering financial support to persons deemed woefully short of this much-needed resource.
The name of 2015 national honouree, Dr. Badih Shoucair, readily resonates with residents of Barbican, and neighbouring communities, in St. Andrew.
During his 65 years of practice, the 96-year-old medical doctor has systematically devoted time for the less fortunate, with his philanthropic work being legendary in areas such as Chambers Lane, Barbican Circle, and Lower Russell Heights where he earned the monikers “God Blessed” and “Godfather”.
Dr. Shoucair’s limitless benevolence and generosity often saw him providing health care, free of cost, to the needy, as well as offering financial support to persons deemed woefully short of this much-needed resource.
His selflessness, which has extended as far as the Cayman Islands where he also practiced, saw him being named among this year’s 233 recipients of National Honours and Awards.
A proud moment it was for the evergreen philanthropist, as he was conferred with the Order of Distinction (Commander Class), by Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, during the investiture ceremony at King’s House, on National Heroes Day, Monday, October 19.
Dr. Shoucair’s journey to becoming a medical doctor and well-loved benefactor is a storied one.
Born in Woodford Park, Kingston, on January 18, 1919, he was the son of merchant parents who travelled from Lebanon to Jamaica, where they established a business on Princess Street in the downtown commercial district.
At the age of 12 months, he was relocated to Lebanon, where he spent his next 20 years, living with relatives.
By age 10, Dr. Shoucair’s growing love and passion for medicine peaked with his bold decision to pursue a career in this field.
He tells JIS News that his desire to study medicine was, in part, influenced by the diligence of a doctor with whom he was familiar, and who was instrumental in restoring the health of the youngster’s French teacher, who was stricken by pneumonia, rendering him bedridden.
Dr. Shoucair was also captivated by the kindness of the physician whom, he says, took a mere bottle of olive oil, as payment, from the teacher.
“That impressed me the most… (and as such) I (decided that) wanted to be a doctor just like him. So I worked very hard to become one,” he notes.
Dr. Shoucair’s medical studies started with his enrollment at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He continued his education at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, USA, and concluded with his graduation from the Georgetown University School of Medicine, 65 years ago.
Upon returning to Jamaica in 1950, he joined the government service and worked at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) for six months.
The following year, he was reassigned to the Port Antonio Hospital in Portland, and in 1952, assumed the position of Chief Medical Officer for the Cayman Islands, where he served for 12 months.
Among his most notable achievements there, was his instrumentality in establishing that country’s main general hospital.
During his tenure there, Dr. Shoucair’s devotion to and close interaction with his patients earned the title “The Saint”, for his kind, gentle, caring, and compassionate disposition and acts of good deed rendered.
He returned to Jamaica and to the KPH in 1953, where he served as the only emergency surgeon at the institution for three years, before departing the government medical service.
Dr. Shoucair did a three-year stint at the newly established Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston, before entering private practice in 1960 through which he has been fulfilling his childhood dream, for the past 65 years, of taking care of the sick.
This, he does from his office, located in Russell Heights, St. Andrew.
“All I (have) ever wanted to do, in my life, was medicine. Even now, at the age of 96, I still see patients…(in fact)..I (still) enjoy seeing patients. If I (could live my life) all over again, I would do the same thing,” he tells JIS News.
Dr. Shoucair is held in high regard by family friend, Dr. Janet Burke, who credits him with influencing her decision to enter the medical field, noting that “his kindness knows no bounds.”